Sunday, November 05, 2006

Paris, The Sweet!

Unsurprisingly, Paris has incredible sweets. I anticipated enjoying more of the cuisine and pastries of Paris than I actually did on this trip. It was exhausting...walking around the city, constantly overwhelmed by the beauty all around me. I often had to remind myself to stop and eat something periodically. And when I did...I was more than pleased. However, I have vowed that my next trip to Paris will require some kind of a food itinerary. I never did come across profiteroles and there were just so many other wonderful looking pastries and sweets that I didn't make time (or room in my stomach) for!

With that said, I eagerly devoured these beautiful meringues pictured, raspberry tartlettes, dark chocolate, and a café flavored macaron. All were beyond delicious. I was introduced to meringue cookies when my friend Vicki made some last year. It was funny because I bit into my first one and was surprised at how they dissolved in my mouth. I definitely didn't know what to expect but I was instantly hooked. The texture and sugary sweetness are beyond words.

Most meringue cookies are simply made from egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar, and flavoring. I am sure there are variations but they really are simple pieces of heaven! Interestingly, I found that most pâtisseries/confiseries I came across in Paris that had meringues only had the larger sized ones. I much rather prefer these adorable smaller meringues. And they are so colorful.

Macarons also blew my mind. I had heard of them before but never really knew what to expect as far as taste. I tried a café flavored one and it was so wonderful. The outer cookie is made from almond powder, sugar, and egg whites. The inside is a layer of cream. The history of the macaron is really interesting and a wonderful overview can be found on Louis la Vache's blog at Macarons de Paris.

The macaron in the photo is a pistachio flavored one that I nabbed from the internet. The photo of my café flavored macaron, also from Paul, did not come out very well. Pistachio macarons (and other pistachio flavored confections) seem quite popular in Paris. You really don't see any pistachio flavored sweets here in the States...at least not in my experience.

Truly, since returning, I've been increasingly motivated to find a French confectionery in which I can find more meringues and macarons. And I truly do vow to make a list of all the pastries that I have yet to try, so that upon returning to Paris, I can indulge my sweet tooth further!


*Pistachio macaron image nabbed from here.

11 comments:

Louis la Vache said...

Louis la Vache thanks you for linking to his histoire et recette pour macarons!

For your readers in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can find vrai macarons at the boulangerie on Pine Street between Steiner and Fillmore in San Francisco. This boulangerie (and its sister boulangeries - one on Cole, one on Polk) are owned by Pascal Rigo, un vrai français from Bordeaux. Walking into his boulangerie is like walking into a little corner of France - and he makes macarons au pistache. Pistache has become one of Louis la Vache's favorite flavors. Their macaron au citron is also very good - and try the lavande - lavender.

Louis la Vache said...

As you munched your way across Paris - that is, when you remembered to stop and eat - you may have noticed that almond is another very popular flavor. Louis la Vache posted une recette for frangipane and une recette using the frangipane from the first recette:

Frangipane:
http://louisrecettes.blogspot.com/2006/11/frangipane.html

Mirlitons de Rouen:
http://louisrecettes.blogspot.com/2006/11/mirlitons-de-rouen.html

These links are to Louis's recette blog. They are also posted at The Frog Blog. Check the other recettes using almond linked at the recette pour frangipane.

À table! Bon appétit!

Run Around Paris said...

Yum......macarons are the best!

Richard said...

Hmmm … looks more like meringue with filling. My mother used to make meringue.

Every time I hear macaroon, I tihnk of those sticky, chewy coconut confections bearing the same name.

Have you every tried some of the bakery products by our own Vachon bakery?

b said...

Louis...thank you for the additional information. I live near Portland, Oregon...but how I wish I were in the San Francisco area. I've been dying to try all the wonderful macarons out there, but lavender sounds especially intriguing.

Since posting this and reading your comments, I admit that I feel a bit possessed to find macarons here. I've looked online and I did find a couple of places that will deliver by air but I so wish I had something closer. I will keep pursuing this! I wish I were a better baker, I would open my own French boulangerie!

Thanks again for all the wondeful information. I hope you don't mind if I link to your blog from time to time, as I find that you have so much wonderful information and present it in such a great way!

Erin...yes, they are incredible. In fact, after just trying that one in Paris, I have started to develop a wicked craving for them, especially after this post and some research I did online. I must find some here...I can't stop thinking about them! :-)

Richard...French macarons are often mistaken as coconut macaroons (note the additional O in the coconut variety). These two cookies couldn't be more different however. But the negligible pronunciation often requires one to make this distinction clear. I really don't like coconut macaroons but love French macarons.

The outer cookies are similar to meringues in that they do have a crisp top and then crumble into softness below. And then the filling...heavenly!

I am not familar with Vachon. I looked at the link you provided. Are they packaged sweets, like twinkies? I honestly don't care for those packaged goods, but don't think I've tried any of their products. Are they good?

Richard said...

Ah! There we go, I missed that all important 'o'.

Yeah, those Vachon products are kind of twinkie like. While I do like sweet things. I always found them unsatisfying (too light, crumbly chocolate coating, and artificial filling).

Of course, some people seem addicted to them - especially the Jos Louis. I can't figure, but it is the same with things like coke, I just don't get the attraction.

b said...

Richard...yes, it is the all important 'o' indeed! :-)

I know, a lot of people do seem addicted to those packaged twinkie-like products but I too find them incredibly unsatisfying and artificial!

If you come across macarons (the Parisian/French variety), I definitely recommend trying them.

victoria said...

oh, those look so yummy! I just made some a few weeks ago for my sister and added pumpkin pie spice to a few and they tasted divine! last week was biscotti--have yet to dip them in chocolate, though. How's your week going? any time to get together?

Anonymous said...

ah those are new things for me...
hope someday i'll go there. hehehe....

Anonymous said...

What's life without the good stuff? Chocolate's the best, but I'm not much for dark chocolate, though.

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